One of my absolute favorite moments from The Office (and there are several) is during the series finale, when the typically less-than-wise Andy Bernard wistfully says, "I wish there was a way to knowyou're in the good old days before you've actually left them." And wow, can I relate. If you're also terrified sometimes that your life is passing by without you actually living it, then you might wondering how you can be more present in your everyday life so those fears don't keep you up at night.
Now, for one thing, if you feel like you're not that present in your day-to-day life, it's not necessarily your fault. According to a new study, living in the digital age is making everyone more distracted than ever. ScienceDaily reports that in the first phase of this research, which was recently presented at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association, the study authors conducted a restaurant experiment in which they asked over 300 adults and university students in Vancouver, British Columbia to either leave their phones on the table with the notifications turned on during a meal, or to put their devices away with the notifications turned off.
As you might suspect, the participants whose phones were chiming or vibrating while they were eating were much more likely to use their phones during the meal. But what might be more surprising is that those who stayed connected to their devices during the meal later reported that they enjoyed the experience less than the people who had put their phones away. "We assumed that [these participants] would be more adept at multi-tasking between using their phones and interacting with others," Elizabeth Dunn, Ph.D., a co-author of the study from the University of British Columbia, said in a statement, "but we found out even moderate levels of phone use undermined the benefits of engaging with others."
So whether you realize it or not, your phone is probably keeping you from being present in your everyday life, at least to some extent. Here are a few easy ways to live in the moment more often, without having to completely sacrifice your beloved smartphone.